Michael Apted was born in England in 1941 and studied law and history at Cambridge University. Apted began his career as a researcher at Granada Television, and within a few years, became established as a television director and investigative reporter on the news series “World in Action,” and subsequently began directing episodes of Britain’s long-running series “Coronation Street.”
Apted’s award-winning career includes a Grammy, Directors Guild Award and British Academy Awards. Apted has been nominated two additional times for the Directors Guild of America award: for the PBS production of Harold Pinter’s The Collection, starring Sir Laurence Olivier, Alan Bates and Malcolm MacDowell, and for Coal Miner’s Daughter. Apted also received the International Documentary Associations’ highest honor, the IDA Career Achievement Award.
Two of his television series won British Academy awards: The Lovers for Best Comedy Series, and Folly Foot for Best Children’s Series. Apted himself won Best Dramatic Director for Another Sunday and Sweet F.A. His other sixty-plus television credits include works by such leading English writers as Colin Welland, Jack Rosenthal and Arthur Hopcraft.
In 1972, Apted made his directorial feature film debut with the tense war era drama Triple Echo. Next, Apted’s great love for rock and roll made him a natural to direct 1975’s acclaimed Stardust, a journey into the dark underside of the music world. The Squeeze, a thriller with Stacy Keach followed in 1977, and two years later, Apted again teamed up with producer Puttnam to direct Dustin Hoffman and Vanessa Redgrave in Agatha. Shot in the Appalachian mountains Coal Miner’s Daughter, marked Apted’s first directing project in America. The movie garnered 7 nominations including Best Picture and won an Oscar for Sissy Spacek’s moving portrayal of country-western singer Loretta Lynn. He went on to direct Continental Divide, Gorky Park, Kipperbang, which garnered him a British Academy Award nomination, First Born, Bring on the Night, which won him a Grammy award, Critical Condition starring Richard Pryor, Class Action, Thunderheart, Extreme Measures, Inspirations, Always Outnumbered, Enigma, Enough starring Jennifer Lopez and Billy Campbell.
Apted’s documentary work include The Long Way Home, a documentary about rock star Boris Brebenshikov, Incident At Oglala which was produced by Robert Redford about the plight of imprisoned Native American activist Leonard Peltier. Moving the Mountain which tells the story of the Tiananmen Square massacre won the grand prize at the Heartland Film Festival and an IDA award and was distributed by October Films. His documentary project for A&E Network, Married in America was a decade-long examination of nine marriages.
Apted’s documentary Inspiration, focuses on seven well-known artists include musician David Bowie and painter Roy Lichtenstein, who speak on the images, memories, ideas, other artists’ work – the inspiration — that has nurtured their creative process. Me and Isaac Newton, a companion piece to Inspirations, examines the creativity in the world of science.
His feature films include: the James Bond film The World is Not Enough. One of the most successful Bond films to date, the film has garnered over $350 million in worldwide box office, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third installment of the C.S. Lewis Narnia series, Chasing Mavericks, starring Gerard Butler and Jonny Weston. Apted’s Gorillas in the Mist earned Sigourney Weaver an Academy Award nomination along with four other nominations for the film.
The Directors Guild of America re-elected Mr. Apted to a third term as President in June 2007. On January 17, 2008, the Directors Guild successfully negotiated a new three year contract with the AMPTP. Mr. Apted stepped down from the Presidency on July 25, 2009, having served 3 terms in office.
Mr. Apted now serves as the Secretary-Treasurer for the Guild and is on the Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
In the fall of 2013, Mr. Apted directed the documentary Bending the Light for Saville Productions. The film takes an intimate look at the artisans who craft lenses and ties them to the artists that use the lenses in the world. The film will have its world premiere at the 2014 Traverse City Film Festival.